July 20, 2005
-- by Thomas Leavitt
[Just slightly reworked to change the format of links and include the article's title in the body of the letter. In my view, the referenced article is a classic example of how the dominant the conservative think tanks are in today's media discourse - even in the "capital" of "liberalism", the hometown paper can't find a single "progressive" source to quote. I cc'd the article to the Chronicle's Reader Representative. -Thomas]
I just read your article in Sunday's paper, CASUALTY OF WAR: THE U.S. ECONOMY... I'm wondering why you couldn't find a single "left of center-right" economist, think tank representative, or private sector critic to quote as a source in this article.
You quote talking heads from the Cato Institute, and the Heritage Foundation, two institutions which just barely qualify as "non-partisan", and certainly have a definitively "conservative"/"libertarian" ideology.
You quote "The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments" and "Center for Strategic and International Studies", both of which are "non-partisan", but which are part and parcel of the American governmental establishment (one of them has a former CIA director on its board, the other is lead by a former deputy Secretary of Defense).
Quoting a single Congressional Democrat among several conservative dissidents in no way constitutes a balanced article. I respectfully request that you cultivate a broader diversity of sources!
It also lists Gene Sperling, whose biography says, "He served in the Clinton administration as the President’s National Economic Adviser and Director of the National Economic Council."
Surely either of these gentlemen could have provided equally interesting commentary on the economic implications of the war in Iraq from a non-conservative point of view.
If you want to get really "radical", why not quote someone from the Institute for Policy Studies:
"For more than four decades, IPS has transformed ideas into action for peace, justice, and the environment. The Institute has strengthened and linked social movements through articulation of root principles and fundamental rights, research and analysis on current events and issues, and connections to policymakers, academics, and activists at all levels. As a multi-issue think tank that has worked with the movements that shaped the late 20th Century, from Civil Rights onwards, we offer a cross-cutting analysis with a historical perspective."
Not exactly the Cato Institute - but certainly something different from the "usual suspects". As a "left of center" Green, I feel left completely out when news coverage by the paper I subscribe to consists of arguments among various factions within the right (with a comment or two from the occassional moderate Democrat tossed in for flavor).
[Dear STF readers - If you have comments on The Chronicle's coverage, standards or accuracy, please call Dick Rogers, the readers' representative, at (415) 777-7870. Written comments can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, faxed to (415) 442-1847, or addressed to Readers' Representative, c/o San Francisco Chronicle, 901 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103. You can write the author of the above referenced article at email@example.com]
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Great letter, Thomas!
Posted by: Helga Fremlin at July 21, 2005 9:08 PM
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